Serving wine to hundreds of guests can seem a little daunting. There’s a lot to consider, from temperature, menu pairings, and deciding just how much to buy. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my expert tips to pull off the perfect pour that will satisfy all your guests.

Before we jump in, I want you to remember this: your wedding is about you and your fiancé. So, while you’re throwing a party and feel the need to please your guests, you should always choose varietals you both enjoy, as hopefully you will have some leftover for you to enjoy as a married couple.

Remember: at the end of the day, it’s about you two.

Think about your menu

Most people will choose wedding wines based on the season. Traditionally, a winter wedding meant red wine and a spring or summer wedding called for white wine. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter what the season is as long as your picks compliment your menu.

If you’re serving chicken, a medium to light red or white wine is a safe bet. If fish is more your style, lighter, mineral-y white wines pair well with seafood and other fish. If beef is on the menu, I’d recommend a red wine that compliments beef really well. Lastly, if you’re thinking of serving pork for your special day, go for a bolder white wine. As long as you choose well-balanced, trustworthy wines that pair well with a number of dishes, you will have one less thing to worry about on your wedding day. Plus, your guests will enjoy their meal way more!

Choosing the varieties

“A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rose instead,” aren’t just Billy Joel's song lyrics, they are words to live by as you select a variety of wines to serve at any get together. Don’t over complicate things. Even if you pick a white wine, red wine, and sparkling wine, is a great way to go. Regardless of people’s desired preferences, if you serve a variety people will still find something to enjoy. I’d recommend selecting a white wine that’s on the dry-side, such as a Pinot Gris or Chardonnay, a nice red that is full of flavor, like a Malbec or Red Blend. These are great options alone, but I usually add in a sweeter white, such as our Huckleberry d'Latah. This wine is unique to the Northwest, and oh so fun to serve! The red and white alone, or with the added Huckleberry d'Latah, these options will pair with anything you have on the menu. You can also pick a mild champagne or prosecco to hit that bubbly note. When my husband and I got married, he didn't like wine, so toasting with champagne was not an option for us. We toasted with our Moscato (now Orange Moscato), and it was fantastic! The heat from the evening summer sun made the sweetness of the wine that much better! So, don't feel like you have to stick with "protocol", choose what is best for you!

Get the temperature right

This may be common knowledge but, white and sparkling wines should be served cold. Even red wines can benefit from a half an hour in the fridge before serving. Wine that’s too cold will warm up. But, warm wine is a loss from the start. That's why temperature control is important so please take note. Red wine should be served between 55-65 degrees and white wine should be served in the mid-40 degree range.

How much wine per person rule

No one wants to be the host of the wedding that ran out of wine, but you also don't want cases and cases of wine leftover. So, a common question prevails, how much wine do you need for the reception? Our rule of thumb here at Latah Creek is to take 80% of your total guests as the number of drinkers; there are a variety of reasons why a person is not drinking, such as they are children, on medication that won't allow alcohol consumption, or they just don't drink. Then, we recommend gauging 2 people per bottle, as you don't want people drinking much more than that and driving home.

So, lets do an example to pull it all together: if you expect 100 guests, take 80% of that. You are now assuming 80 of your guests are drinkers. Then you take the number of drinkers, 80, and divide it by 2 (approximate 2 people per bottle), and you'll get 40 bottles. The final think I do is round up to the nearest case (a case is 12 bottles), as you usually will get the best discounts when you purchase full cases, so you would round 40 up to 48 bottles, or 4 full cases of wine.

Now to decide how much of each wine you chose. Using the time of the year is a good guideline to gauge this. In the winter I would have 2 of the cases be red, 1 white, and 1 Huckleberry d'Latah. On the other hand, in the summer, more people will drink the chilled whites, so stick with 1 case red, 1 case white, and 2 cases Huckleberry d'Latah.

If you’re planning for a champagne toast for everyone, plan that each bottle will have 8 pours in it.

While it’s important to order the best wine for your budget, never compromise on the quality. Go wine tasting with your soon-to-be spouse and come with a list of wines you both like. Now, as you consider what you’re going to offer during the reception remember my key tips: consider your menu, think of variety, be mindful of temperature and of course, the quantity rule. You got this, now enjoy this your blissful season of wedding planning.